The Sparrows Point steel mill.
The Sparrows Point steel mill. (Baltimore Sun photo by Karl Merton Ferron)

Laid-off Sparrows Point workers and retirees from the steel mill should soon be able to sign up for health insurance through a plan set up in another steelmaking region.

Mill owner RG Steel — which stopped benefits Aug. 31 — asked for court approval Thursday to allow the Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel Corporation Retiree Benefits Plan to accept workers and retirees from Sparrows Point and its other facilities. The United Steelworkers union agreed to expand eligibility in the plan, and RG Steel said it doesn't think court approval is necessary, though it asked for it just in case.

John Saunders, the union's benefits coordinator for RG Steel workers, said Wheeling-Pitt has a plan covering health, dental and vision benefits for workers getting the federal Health Coverage Tax Credit, which pays for 72.5 percent of premiums; a medical-benefits plan for workers who aren't qualified for the credit; and a Medicare supplement plan. The enrollment deadline is Dec. 31.